The newly introduced G4 guidelines provide a great opportunity for Australian companies to showcase their supply chain performance, but the issue is to disclose supply chain issues that might not be on the radar of the Australian public, says CSR researcher Martijn Boersma.
The Australian annual general meeting (AGM) season is upon us, and has been preceded by the release of annual reports outlining the financial performance of companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
In addition to financial results, many companies will be outlining their sustainability performance, either through integrated reporting or via stand-alone sustainability reports.
The recent decision by two Australian retailers to sign an accord protecting suppliers in Bangladesh has highlighted discrepancies in company disclosure of sustainability issues and the need for clearer reporting guidance.
Kmart and Target became the first Australian companies to sign the Global Union Federations’ building and safety accord, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. According to Oxfam Australia, Big W and Cotton On are also making moves to sign the accord; however, a lack of information on which companies have suppliers in Bangladesh means a potential lack of other Australian signatories.
Recent research by Catalyst Australia, a collaborative policy network, shows that this lack of supply-chain information is not an isolated incident and that significant gaps exist in sustainability reporting by Australian companies. Continue reading →
The Apple brand is not only one of the most famous in the world, it is also the one with the highest value. Although Apple shares have plummeted during the last months, the latest brand value rankings show that the brand remains the best in the world. In addition to this, in the third quarter of 2012 Apple had a market capitalisation of US$ 625 billion, by far the largest in the world, on top of which it had and it had a US $117 billion cash hoard. You would think that a company this size would pay a fair amount of tax, but Apple thinks differently.
Today Catalyst Australia launched its CSR Dashboard, which assesses the corporate social responsibility (CSR) of 32 of Australia’s largest companies across six different topics: gender equality, environment, labour standards, supply chain, community investment and engagement. The breadth of research and data analysis that underpins theCSR Dashboard gave the researchers some overall impressions about social and environmental reporting in Australia. Surprisingly, the majority of our leading companies were not up to scratch. Despite being based on well-established global and local standards of good practice, in most cases the criteria used in the CSR Dashboard were too aspirational to be met by the companies in the sample. Only four of the 32 companies provided enough public information to rate their performance in all 20 of the indicators. Ten companies had three or less reporting gaps. At the other end of the spectrum seven of the 32 companies did not achieve a rating in more than half of the 20 indicators. Some topic areas were widely overlooked, such as supply chains. Companies also disclosed selectively around labour standards. The website provides a visual representation of the full results for all companies and topics, as well as background information about the project.
The murder of Drummer Lee Rigby by a pair of psychopaths invoking the name of Islam has galvanised Britain and gained global media attention, but what about the other 176 or so people who were murdered by Muslim psychopaths last week? Drummer Rigby was white, English and a soldier, so the gory, bizarre and provocative manner of his death garnered headlines around the world, but hundreds of families, mostly Muslim, are also in mourning because of the actions of psychopaths using Islam to justify their bloodlust. One of the men charged with the murder of Rigby, Michael Adebolajo, 28, was a thug long before he gravitated to Muslim fundamentalism. At high school he cultivated a gangsta persona, got into drugs, then armed robbery, and became known for putting a knife to people’s throats and stealing their phones and money. Continue reading →
The Australian government is considering the most sweeping and radical changes to its surveillance and intelligence laws since the establishment of the original powers in 1979. Access to citizens’ information is topical in Australia, with concerns over potential terrorist use of the internet resulting in legislation facilitating easier access to stored communications, forcing ISPs to collect internet traffic data in real-time, and make it available to police in Australia and law enforcement agencies in foreign countries for up to 30 days. GetUp has together an informative video to explain the changes. Watch the video below and sign the petition asking to withdraw the Government’s support for these controversial changes to surveillance laws.